18 Inspiring + Insightful Outdoor Adventure Books

I’ve been a pretty big bookworm my whole life. I love all kinds of books, from fiction to non-fiction, Harry Potter to memoirs. But as my love of the outdoors has grown, I’ve begun seeking out stories that inspire my adventurelust (that’s a thing, right?) I’ve always loved how books transport me to another world. It’s like going on a trip without actually going anywhere. And since we’re all hangin’ out at home right now, these outdoor adventure books will do just that!

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Tools to Get You Reading

Even though you can’t go to your local library or bookstore right now, there are a ton of other ways you can get your hands on these awesome outdoor adventure books.

  • Buy eBooks: eBooks are usually cheaper than paper books. You can buy individual books or sign up for subscriptions like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited or Scribd where you get access to a ton of books at your fingertips.
  • Borrow an eBook from your library: Many libraries offer eBooks. If you choose a popular book you may have to wait for it to be available, but that’s a small price to pay for a free book.
  • Download an eBook app: You don’t need a fancy eReader to take advantage of eBooks. There are lots of app options, but a few of my favourites are Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, and Kobo.
  • Invest in an eReader: eReaders are an amazing way to have hundreds of books without taking up all the space.
  • Listen to an audiobook: Audible is probably one of the most popular audiobook services, but Scribd and Kobo are other great options.
  • Buy a paper book online: Pretty much any book you’ve ever wanted is available online! Amazon and Chapters are my go-to online bookstores, but you can always check with your local bookstores.

Outdoor Adventure Books

Wild by Cheryl Strayed, an outdoor adventure book

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

I’m sure you’ve heard of Wild. It’s pretty much the go-to outdoor adventure book and it’s on aaaall the lists. And for good reason! It’s also been made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. Wild is one of the few book adaptations that I actually love.

Wild is a powerful memoir that’ll have you laughing, smiling, and crying as Cheryl Strayed hikes the PCT alone. She doesn’t know what she’s getting into, but she powers through and comes out the other side stronger.

Learn how to explore local with Microadventures

Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes

Microadventures are all about exploring local and making the most of your time at home. I found this book years ago and it’s changed how I look at adventure.

Almost Somewhere, an outdoor adventure book

Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail

This beautiful memoir details both the trials and victories of three young, inexperienced women as they hike the John Muir Trail and learn about themselves.

Thru-Hiking Will Break your Heart, an outdoor adventure book

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail

Like many who hike the PCT, Carrott Quinn is looking to reconnect with life. She’s an inexperienced hiker but doesn’t let that stop her. She lets it all out in this memoir and will draw you in, telling you exactly what it’s like to hike the PCT.

A Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis, an outdoor adventure book

Girl in the Woods: A Memoir

This memoir follows Aspen Matis as she hikes the entire PCT after a traumatic experience in college. Throughout her 2,650-mile journey, she’s forced to confront her assault and eventually overcome it.

A Long Trek Home, an outdoor adventure book

A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to travel entirely by human power from Seattle to Alaska? Follow Erin and her husband as they trek up the Pacific coast, raising environmental and conservation issues along the way.

Gorge by Kara Whitely, an outdoor adventure book

Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds

Gorge is an incredibly inspiring and raw memoir of a plus-sized woman as she treks up Kilimanjaro. She battles with the mountainside and her own self-doubt and eventually comes into self-acceptance along the way.

Grandma Gatewood's Walk outdoor book

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Did you know that a 67-year-old-grandma was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? How awesome is that! She’s also to thank for the increased maintenance along the trail.

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Join Edward Abbey as he chronicles his life as a park ranger, from experiencing the silence and beauty of nature to the exploitation of the wilderness for oil, mining, and tourism.

Pure Land by Annette McGivney, an outdoor adventure book

Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures and the Search for Heaven on Earth

Follow Annette McGivney as she investigates a brutal murder in the Grand Canyon, only to have it drastically influence her own life. It’s true crime with an outdoor twist. She skillfully weaves three lives and cultures together into a story that will have you thinking about the book long after you’ve finished it.

Tracks by Robyn Davidson, a trek through Australian outback


Have you ever thought of walking across Australia’s outback with only a few camels and a dog to keep you company? No? Well, you can join Robyn Davidson as she sets out on a solo adventure of a lifetime.

It’s also a movie if you wanna check it out!

Into the Wild

Into the Wild

In 1992, a wealthy young man decided to reinvent himself by hitchhiking to Alaska, giving away all his money, and living off the land in the harsh north. His body was found four months later.

Rising by Sharon Wood, an outdoor adventure book

Rising: Becoming the First Canadian Woman to Summit Everest, A Memoir

In 1986, Sharon Wood became the first North American woman to summit Mt Everest. She recounts her climb in this memoir, but what’s even more interesting is how she got there and how her fame impacted her life afterward.

The Last Season by Eric Blehm, an outdoor adventure book

The Last Season

Follow the life of Randy Morgenson, a backcountry ranger who was well-known for finding people in the Sierra Nevada — until the day he mysteriously disappeared in those same mountains.

Blind Descent, an outdoor adventure book

Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Cave on Earth

Instead of heading up, two men try to find the bottom of the world in this true story. They spend months two miles deep and battle rivers, waterfalls, and belly crawls all the while shrouded in absolute darkness.

Found, an outdoor adventure book

Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in SAR, to brave the wilderness to rescue hikers stranded in the mountains? Bree Loewen writes about the difficulties of being involved in mountain rescue.

Hiking My Feelings, an outdoor adventure book

Hiking My Feelings: Stepping into the Healing Power of Nature

Discover the beauty of disconnecting. Reconnect with yourself as this guide helps you heal and create the best version of yourself through nature and hiking.

Thirst, an outdoor adventure book

Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home

An incredibly inspiring and emotional memoir about Heather Anderson’s attempt to hike the PCT and set the fastest known time. Her story is full of fear and loneliness, but also community and self-growth.

Hopefully, you can escape the confines of your home and enjoy some of these great outdoor adventure books! I love reading and would love to hear of some of your favourites so I can give them a try.

If you want some more fun ways to bring the outdoors indoors, I’ve written a whole article about it.

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